In 2011, after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, First responders need to measure quickly the radiation exposure, who requires urgent treatment after the explosion. Dipanjan Chowdhury, (a radiation oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) the tests are fast and accurate, but it depends on sophisticated laboratories, expensive machinery, and meticulous work.He says,“We don’t have copious amounts of radiation drugs available” in such a situation. “So how do we decide who gets them?”

Dipanjan Chowdhury and his colleagues are developing a simple assay that responders could apply in the field of limited expertise or equipment.

This test was published in March Science Translational Medicine, detects levels of molecules called microRNAs (miRNAs) in blood and other bodily fluids. Previously this same research has identified certain miRNAs whose levels rise or fall in mice exposed to radiation.


Chowdhury’s and his colleagues found that this radiation signature also exists in monkeys.(which are the best example for Lab Experiment in human.Their study identifies seven miRNAs that fluctuate in both mice and macaques exposed to radiation.These monkeys were given lethal doses of 5.8, 6.5 or 7.2 grays of whole-body radiation, similar to levels inhaled by Fukushima workers (all the animals received “lethal” doses, but only some resulted in death). These three mi-RNAs—miR-133b, miR-215 and miR-375—can indicate with 100 percent accuracy whether a macaque has encountered radiation, and two—miR-30a and miR-126—can predict whether the exposure will be fatal. After 24 hours of Exposure, the signature appears and can be measured using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a common technique. Chowdhury says,“Based on the ingredients and the complexity, the miRNA test should be significantly cheaper than any existing test,”.

Final study:

Nicholas Dainiak, (director of the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site at the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education)says, The findings in nonhuman primates are encouraging.He was not involved in the study. But the test will outperform the gold standard metric for radiation exposure: the dicentric chromosome assay (DCA), which requires technical expertise and carefully calibrated equipment.Dainiak says,
“Every time a new test comes along, and you compare it with the DCA, it typically fails,”.

Chowdhury says that he has informal talks with the companies that, some of the companies are interested in creating a rapid diagnostic kit for radiation. “When we did this in mice, people said, ‘We’ve seen a lot of stuff in mice that never pans out in primates,’” Chowdhury says. “Well, this seems to be panning out in primates.”

This article was originally published with a different title name “Radiation Triage”.